Maintaining healthy episodic memory isn’t just about remembering your first kiss or the beater car you drove in college. It’s about using your brain in a way that supports overall cognitive function and brain longevity.
As mentioned, episodic memory taps into many different brain regions, thereby increasing activity between them. It also requires “a certain amount of emotional control because you have to go through everything that happened without [focusing too much] on any one particular detail,” notes Carmichael. This puts your executive functioning skills to work, as it involves attention control, she says.
From the perspective of mental and emotional wellness, episodic memory is essential for creating the richness of your past experiences, shares Mushtaq. She goes on to add that “episodic memory is personally important to each individual because no two humans experience one event the same way.” Episodic memory, after all, is what will help you personalize a certain event—from the sounds you heard to the emotions you felt.
Finally, episodic memory is key for maintaining independence throughout life. The ability to remember specific occurrences—again, like where you parked your car or what you made for breakfast—is crucial for overall longevity and well-being.